Emma Nangari Roepke

Emma Nangari Roepke was born in Port Augusta, South Australia to a PItantjatjara Ngaanatjarra mother and a German father. Emma grew up and went to school in Whyalla but her family regularly travelled to Ntaria (Hermannsburg, Northern Territory) to visit extended family.

Growing up, Emma struggled to find her identity in a world where she felt that she did not belong to either culture; she found it difficult to reconnect with her ancestry, although her family in  Ntaria (Hermannsburg), particularly her grandfather made a big effort to teach her traditional culture whenever she visited, she still felt disconnected from the traditions and from her maternal country.

Discovering painting by chance a few years ago has slowly helped her to understand her story and her journey across two different cultures.  She started looking at paintings and dreamings associated with her family and her country. Then she slowly started looking at the country that has shaped her, the patterns and the colours of the landscape that has become her home, Alice Springs.  Painting has help her to reconnect with her traditional culture and has enlarged her view of who she is in a society where traditions are always changing.

Her paintings are detailed and rich in colour and texture, she studies maps and aerial views of the landscape of her mothers country as well as the country where she lives now (Alice Springs). Emma looks at the seasons changes of colour , the animals and plants that are part of the country that has become her home and with that she has created her own story, a story that is intertwined between different cultures and traditions.